A message on the Public Records Bill Veto
March 3, 2018 | By Washington House Democrats
Dear friends and neighbors,
As you know, last week I voted in support of SB 6617, aimed at taking first steps toward government transparency in the Legislature for the first time in decades. The bill included opening correspondence with lobbyists and lawmakers’ calendars to public scrutiny, while still keeping personal emails and letters from constituents private.
This bill was rushed through both chambers without going through the standard legislative process; there was no chance for the public to weigh in on this policy, which made me and many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle very uncomfortable.
But when it came time to vote, I felt that voting in support of a policy proposal that promoted some government transparency would be better than voting against it.
The people spoke loudly. Phone calls and emails flooded legislative offices and that gave me pause. I realized that the unacceptable process in which this legislation passed had eclipsed any of the bill’s merit in opening up legislative records.
Your outrage was not only understandable; it was justified.
Voting for this bill and passing it in this manner was a mistake that I deeply regret.
Fortunately, this is a mistake we can fix. I, along with many my colleagues, signed a letter asking the governor to veto this bill, which he did, in its entirety.
Governor Inslee will convene a task force with representatives from his office, the Attorney General’s office, the news media, open government advocates, lawmakers, and others, to engage in a very public process and bring back recommendations to the Legislature next year.
Thank you for getting involved.
Thank you for demanding accountability from your legislators.
We will get it right next time around.